Costanzo Astarita, Chef
Traditional: Caprese Salad
New Twist: Fried Green Tomatoes with Burrata
When tomatoes fall out of season in the colder months, Chef Astarita turns to the green version of tomatoes and a sundried tomato pesto to make up for the loss of ripe, red heirlooms. For this dish, he dredges green tomato slices in buttermilk and a seasoned flour/cornmeal mixture before pan-frying them. He tops them with a variety of domestic burrata cheeses, the pesto, and a drizzling of olive oil and aged balsamic vinaigrette with fresh basil and sliced olives. “The fried green tomatoes add a surprising kick to a traditional caprese salad,” he says.
Mauro Pando, Chef
New Twist: Iron Skillet Cornbread with Lavender-Infused Butter
“The butter is a tasteful mix of sweet honey and the pungent aroma and flavor of lavender. To make it, mix lavender into the honey in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave until the honey is warm, remove it from the oven, and allow to cool to room temperature slowly. Mix honey and ground pepper into butter until thoroughly combined. The lavender flecks add a genuine edge to the creamy butter. I love to serve this with warm cornbread served in an authentic iron skillet.”
Owned by Sage Restaurant Group, with locations in Cleveland, Denver, Philadelphia, and Portland, Oregon
Chris Starkus, Chef
Traditional: Sautéed or Steamed Green Beans
New Twist: Green Beans and Toasted Hemp Seed with Charred Grape, Olive, and Blood Orange Chutney
For this new take on a classic, Chef Starkus sautées green beans with red bulgur, topping the mix with a compote of charred grapes, blood orange segments, crushed and pitted Castleventrano olives, and extra-virgin olive oil that cures for at least one hour before service. A drizzling of red wine vinaigrette and a garnish of whole-leaf parsley, crispy capers, and toasted hemp seed complete the versatile dish. Thanks to its diverse flavors hitting all the sweet, salty, savory, bitter, and acidic notes, this dish pairs with any protein, from steaks to pork chops, roast chicken, and even fish.
Nathan Lemley, Chef
New Twist: Beet and Fennel Slaw with Mango, Ricotta Salata, and Garam Vinaigrette
Paying homage to beets, this new take on an old-school slaw features pickled beets and shaved fennel tossed in two dressings: one with garam masala, olive oil, and vinegar, and the other with fresh lemon and oil. Mango slices brighten up the dish with a little sweetness, and as another alternative to the sour cream–laden version.
Calvin Eng, Chef
Traditional: Watercress Salad
New Twist: Jiggly Jellyfish Watercress Salad
Chef Eng adds Asian flavors to this classic protein side by first making a fried garlic marinade with soy sauce, black and white vinegar, ginger, and goji berries. He lets the jellyfish steep in the marinade before serving the acid-cured fish atop the watercress with fresh scallions and cilantro, a shake of toasted sesame seeds, and a fried and chilled salt- and sugar-coated peanut and anchovy garnish.